[16 February 2012]
Eight Bit Tiger’s debut album is a big, catchy chunk of disco-inflected pop that pulls off the neat trick of not sounding entirely retro. A big part of this is due to the engineering and production of frontman Erik Widman, whose work gives the album a crisp, full-bodied sound. The drums, which are a mix of live and synthetic, sound robust, and the bass lines have a nice, thick low end. Widman and his brother Kent have put together a collection of upbeat, danceable tracks that are essentially pop songs. There are no repetitive, eight-minute club-style drones here; in fact only one song crests the five-minute mark.
That brevity makes Parallel Synchronized Randomness go down smoothly. Even though many of the songs in the album’s first half sound a bit too similar to each other, they coast by on their catchy beats and Widman’s confident falsetto vocal delivery. Once “Our World” kicks off the album’s second half with a slower tempo, an unusually active bass line, woodblock percussion, and synthesized strings, Eight Bit Tiger loosens up considerably. “Oslo”, a guitar-driven power-pop song that doesn’t forget the band’s synths, is the album’s best track. “In Our Next Life” starts as a plaintive love song before the live drums kick in and Widman belts out his vocals for the first time. The first half of Parallel Synchronized Randomness strikes a nice balance between retro and modern, and between dance and pop music, while the second half shows that Erik and Kent Widman have more on their minds than just laying down a catchy hi-hat beat.